Chic chat #4
“I would like to believe that the beauty sector is moving towards our model of not just creating beautiful wonderful aspirational products but also ones that have a wider role to play in the world,” says Ruth Thomson of The Soap Co. In the fourth of our ChicChats series, Lawfully Chic caught up with the luxury ethical soap brand to talk about design, business and where the beauty world is going.
LC: Tell us how it started.
TSC: I suppose it began with a wish: to create something high quality that could have an amazing social impact. We launched in September 2015 so have just celebrated our first birthday and now have three fragrance ranges of soaps (citrus, black poppy and wild fig, and white tea) and we’re launching a new one in 2017. We’ve even got a dog shampoo! Our capacity is 10,000 units a week.
LC: Your packaging has been greatly admired, we hear…
TSC: Yes, it was done by design consultancy Paul Belford in Islington and won a DNAD award, alongside the likes of Marc Jacobs, Wagamama and Coca Cola. We’re so proud of it – it’s harder to make something very simple beautiful because everything stands out. People in the design world seem to love the embossed braille and the minimalism. Some get very technical about it! There have even been articles written about the particular shade of white and the dot underneath the O. These things really matter to some people.
LC: Where do most of your products go?
TSC: First and foremost we’ve got a thriving B2C customer base. A lot of our customers are from design agencies or they are architects, for example. They want to have a design-led, ethical, beautiful, luxury product in their office and space as it says something about them as a business. We also supply to the likes of PWC, Interface, Accenture – companies that are committed to sustainability and having positive social impact. Next we have individual customers through shopify and our website.
LC: Tell us more about the ethical side of your products.
TSC: Everything is made to the highest of sustainability standards. Our bottles are made from recycled milk bottles and are also recyclable themselves. The only thing we couldn’t make recyclable is the pump – so you get a refill bottle at discount so you don’t have to waste anything. We’re
committed to principles of a circular economy, i.e. as close to zero waste products as possible. Everything is made in east London or Keswick and sourced from as close to home as possible. We’re launching a gift box for Christmas, for example, where all the dyes used are vegetable dyes of highest environmental standards and the films that our soaps are wrapped in are all compostable.
LC: Where’s your area of the beauty world going do you think?
TSC: Well, bars of soap are becoming really fashionable again! More generally I would like to believe that the sector is moving towards our model of not just creating beautiful, wonderful, aspirational products but also ones that have a wider role to play in the world. And I hope that consumers, especially millennials, are demanding that. As we saw in the FashRev campaign, which asked ‘Who made your clothes?’, we want more people to start asking: who made your products? A lot of companies can’t answer those questions.